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Each country's culinary traditions are the reflection of its soul and often serve as a guide used by visitors set to choose their travel destinations. As the proverb goes, "it is a true saying that a man must eat a peck of salt with his friend before he knows him," we like to add, "you will not know a country unless you try the authentic local cuisine." Polish regions pride themselves on their culinary traditions and distinctive features. Those qualities grew out of specific geographical conditions, local customs, history, and sometimes the influence of neighboring cultures. Polish cuisine is an enticing mixture of local traditions, fresh produce, and exquisite flavors. Each region has its culinary gems and regional specialties well worth sampling. A food tour of Poland is a beautiful and delicious journey. We invite you to the savory world of culinary Poland. 

Traditional foods and dishes from regional cuisines.


The most recognized pastry in this region - Lublin's specialty - is "cebularz." Cebularz is essentially a flatbread topped with onion and poppy seeds, similar to bialy but larger and with slightly more yeasty and airy dough.  Cebularz is so prevalent in Lublin that it even has its own dedicated museum. Many of the region's dishes feature buckwheat- a local staple. The iconic "pieróg biłgorajski" is a large rectangular pie made with buckwheat, boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, sour cream, eggs, crackling, spices, and mint.


The Podkarpacie region is home to the natural beauty of the wild and majestic Bieszczady Mountains as well as notable cities of Łańcut, Przemyśl, and Jarosław. The province is known for its diverse and delectable cuisine. The regional delicacy typical to the Beskid Niski is called "proziaki." The term originates from the local name for the baking soda – "proza," so "proziaki" are, in fact, soda pancakes. The addition of buttermilk, which is poured into the flour when kneading the dough, also affects the plumpness. Proziaki are baked directly on a baking sheet and taste best while still warm, with a touch of garlic butter. The former Carpathian Vlachs' rustic culture is still deeply rooted and cultivated in the Bieszczady Mountains. Hikers who follow mountain trails may come across a shepherd's hut in which sheep's milk products are still hand-made. Both artisan and wholesale cheese making is also a popular industry in the region.


Śląskie fare is strongly influenced by German, Czech, and Polish cooking styles. The most quintessential dish is a delightful composition of a beef roulade stuffed with bacon and pickle, Śląskie potato dumplings, and stewed red cabbage. Typical soups include "wodzionka," a bread soup made from stale bread, fat, and water, or "siemieniotka," a soup made of hemp seed, often eaten at the traditional Christmas Eve meal. Christmas is a sweet affair in Śląsk. Holiday desserts range from "makówki"- a sweet poppy seed-based bread dessert, "moczka"- a combination of gingerbread soaked in dark beer, nuts, and a variety of dried fruit, or "śliszki" a poppy paste stuffed baked rolls topped with melted butter, grated gingerbread, and sugar. The flagship dessert cake with whipped cream is called "kopa," and a traditional dessert "szpajza" is a concoction of eggs, gelatin, sugar, and cacao.


The cuisine of Podlasie, Warmia, and eastern Mazowsze has taken over the centuries a distinct Lithuanian flair. Sejny and Suwałki region's staple dish is "kartacz," an oval potato dumpling filled with minced meat, onion, and spices. Potato dishes dominate the Podlasie region. The most notable among them is the grated potato babka and its numerous variations: potato sausage, kugiel, and "soczewiaki"- large, potato dough pierogi stuffed with lentils and onions. Either dish is usually served with a generous dash of pork greaves. It is hard to imagine a traditional borderland meal without "bliny" - a type of buckwheat flour pancake, served either sweet or savory.


The Świętokrzyskie cuisine stems from the hearty country and rustic way of cooking. The best example is the "zalewajka Świętokrzyska" soup. The original version's base is a sour rye starter, water, garlic, potatoes, bacon, and sour cream. Potato dishes are also quite popular in the region. Boiled, grated, or roasted potatoes are the main ingredients for local adaptations of dumplings, pies, and pates. The crown, however, goes to "kugiel" from Czermno- traditionally a Jewish dish, this potato and meat casserole is the staple of the Kielce region.

Baltic coast, Mazury lakes, and Lubuskie province

The direct access to the Baltic Sea and freshwater reservoirs greatly influences the Polish coast and lake districts' culinary approach and style. In seaside towns, fish are sold straight off fishing boats from the previous night's catch. Herring and flounder are common, but cod being the most popular fish.

Mazury - "The Land of a Thousand Lakes" is another region of Poland where fish is the main ingredient in many dishes. The district's lakes are rich in "sielawa," a freshwater whitefish. Even the town of Mikołajki has its likeness in the city coat of arms.  The locals prefer to consume the freshly caught fish dusted in flour and pan-fried. There are plenty of fish fry stalls and restaurants near the lakes. The truly traditional, but often overlooked, fish soup "ucha" is the region's top dish. Originally prepared over an open fire, it gave the broth an aromatic and rich fish flavor.


Even though geographically part of Pomorze, Kaszuby are entirely distinct in culture and gastronomy. It is believed that the oldest Kaszubian fare is "pulki"- potato and herring, which were usually served on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Scrambled eggs with sprats are also pretty popular. There are a couple dishes that are only found here. For example, pea soup served with salted herring or poultry gizzards in aspic. However, the Kaszubian "obona"- a goose meat paste embellishes traditional and local flavor. The raw goose meat is ground with the skin on, seasoned with salt, pepper, herbs, and garlic. The paste is then tightly packed into a stoneware pot and covered with melted goose fat. Often served on top of a piece of bread or as a condiment for other dishes.


It is safe to say that Małopolska cuisine is divided into separate regions, each with its own individual and distinctive qualities.
The capital of the region, Kraków, welcomes visitors right at the train station or the airport with the cities culinary staple: the Kraków "obwarzanek." Obwarzanek is braided ring-shaped bread boiled and sprinkled with salt and sesame or poppy seeds before being baked. The recorded history of obwarzanek dates to the 14th century. About 150 stalls sell this local delicacy in Kraków, and about 150,000 of them are consumed daily. The second homegrown specialty is "maczanka krakowska"- a pulled pork sandwich topped with pickles and savory au jus. 

Southern Małopolska is home to splendid mountain ranges: Beskidy, Tatry, and Pieniny. The Carpathian Vlachs culture has left its mark on the highlander folklore, traditions, clothes, music, and art. Many of the customs are related to sheep herding. Tourists wandering the mountain trails can stay in huts, try sheep's cheese, and see how shepherds make the traditional "oscypek" cheese. Highlander recipes are very characteristic, and usual dishes include "moskole"- potato pancakes, "kwasnica" a meaty, and smoky sauerkraut soup. Lamb and fresh trout are also common in the region.


In the 18th century, Wielkopolska province found itself under Prussian rule. This historical turn of events introduced many dishes found in German cuisine, featuring potatoes or "pyry" as they are called in the region. Poznań's most famous dish is "pyry z gzikiem"- boiled potatoes in their jackets, tossed with blended cottage cheese, onions, and chives. This simple, meatless fare was usually served on Fridays and initially intended for the have-nots of Wielkopolska. Other regional delicacies include potato dumplings stuffed either with meat or fruit, "żelazne prażoki"- a twist on mashed potatoes, or "plindze"- potato pancakes.  A tremendous, sweet trademark of Poznań are "rogale marcińskie"- St. Martin's croissants, traditionally enjoyed on St. Martin day. These wonderful crescent-shaped sweet pastries come with white poppy seed-almond filling. 




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